Bobby Joe's 2005 bull Elk!

6x8 Bull Wapiti (Elk)
with 42" main beams, 41" wide, 20 1/2" G4 or sword tine on the right side and 19 1/2" on the left side that has two extra points.
A heavy, very unique and beautiful Bull Elk!

Well, this season started out like any other season. Couldn't get away when I wanted to go and when I finally did, I went for about 6 days. I helped a friend take some supplies to his camp so I just stayed there instead of setting up my own camp. His camp was very comfortable and there was know one there. There is something to be said for a canvas tent and a wood burning stove. Makes life good when in the hills. It's funny how the simple things we take for granted are extremely wonderful to have when otherwise you wouldn't have them.
The first night in camp was great. The weather was beautiful and not all that cold. After arranging my stuff in a way so I could find it, I finally got ready for bed around 10 PM. The first night I slept in one of the guest tent which had no heat. After that, I moved into the cook tent where the heat was.
Around the time I was getting ready for the sack, I heard that familiar sound of the horses stampeding around outside and immediately knew what it was. I went outside with flashlight and pistol in hand to find a grizzly bear cruising down the trail. Well, my little red healer Jessie, who never barks, saw the bear,  unloaded on him and I was yelling at him and the horses were going ape shit, so he decided he better head for higher grounds. I only saw one other grizzly on this trip and he wanted to hunt the same drainage as I did, so I gave him the Right-of-Way. Lots of wonderful animals but no shots.
I went back in to hunt, 2 days before the opening of rifle season and set up my camp and hunted that first afternoon and the next day with my bow. Rifle season opened up Saturday, October 1st. I was woken, at 4 AM Friday morning, to the howling of wolves coming down the trail past camp. They were close enough to hear me tell my little dog to get them. They stopped howling and the dog just rolled over and looked at me like I was crazy. I saw them opening morning way on top of a bald and snow capped mountain playing and looking around for something to kill.
Friday morning on my last bow hunt trip, I was going to just walk out of camp and hunt a ridge I had been watching and stalked several Elk all day. I had no luck and could not get them to come in bow range. I woke up early Saturday morning and rode all the way around the ridge so I could get on top of them and 15 minutes before I got to where I wanted to go, BAM! The Game Warden from Greybull shot my Elk just before I got there. Didn't see him up close but was told that he was a nice 6x6 Bull Elk that was probably bigger than the one I eventually got.
I got him 1 PM Sunday afternoon. Called him and the cows that he was with out of the timber to have some lunch on the grass that was below me. He fell behind the only tree that he could have fallen behind where I couldn't see him. Well needless to say, I had to go down and see if he was down and make sure he wasn't suffering. It was only a 300 yard walk but 300 feet down a 35 degree grade or so. Well when I found him, he was dead and did not suffer and I went ahead and field dressed him. Well guess what happens next. I have to climb back up this 35 degree grade about 800 yards with vertical climb of about 800 feet to get back to my horse. Well, 45 minutes later and clean out of oxygen I finally made it.
The next day I loaded the elk and horses for the trip out of the mountains to take care of the meat, beat the snow storm that was coming, take a rest and load Sherry up for her hunting trip back to the mountains. Well naturally I left camp set up because we were coming back in a couple of days. The whole time I was down I was worried about the snow caving in the tent and burying our stuff.
Well when we got back up to camp and pulled in through the tree's, we saw that the tent had survived the snow but was amazed at how at first we thought the snow had torn 3 big holes in our tent. Then we realized that we had a visit from a big, furry, four legged creature called a bear. Well it looks more like he was just playing with the tent because he made us 3 big, nice new windows and several little ones. There was no evidence that he ever went inside. Got out some wire and patched up the holes and got ready for bed.
We got up the next morning and went hunting in an area that was usually pretty productive. There was some cows home but no bulls. When we came up over the first rise, there they were. They saw us first and ran. Caught me completely of guard. Well, there didn't appear to be anything else at home, so I planned to climb the ridge and ride down the back side of it. It was too steep to ride the horses so we had to walk them up the hill. It was snowy and steep but finally made it about 1 1/2 hours later and again completely out of wind. Once at the top we had to take a good rest. Suddenly Sherry was crying and wouldn't talk to me. I finally got her to tell me what was wrong. She thought I was just being tough on her so she would not want to come hunting anymore. She thought I was too nice to just tell her that I didn't want her to come anymore. Well, isn't that a contradiction of terms. Well, I had to think about that some for a while. I finally convinced her that is what I do when I'm up hunting without her and that was Elk hunting as I know it.
It's not an easy game, Elk Hunting! It is very tough and brutal at times.
Well, that afternoon on that ridge, we saw not one but two herds of elk, big horn sheep and a big Mule Deer buck but no bulls. I would call that a wonderful evening hunt when you see that much wildlife that were all standing together, didn't kill anything and didn't have to work so hard. When you kill something, that is when the work begins!
The next morning we awoke to snow and a cloud covering the mountain. Visibility was zero, so we ended up staying in the tent all day until about 1:30 PM. I went outside and could see the top of the mountain and told Sherry get ready and lets go. I quickly saddled the horses and away we went. As we were going up the trail to get on the ridge I wanted to hunt, Sherry made a comment that she didn't like the trail. A little steep, snowy and muddy. We got to the top of the ridge and started to ride the ridge when suddenly there was a herd of Elk in front of us that caught me off guard again. Well, we got off the horses and I started cow calling to get them to stop. There were either 2 or 3 bulls in the herd. Needless to say, the bulls just high tailed it for the timber. Then another herd of Elk came up from behind the ridge to the left of us, to the cow call. They saw us, then turned and headed back down the same drainage they just came from.
Well the obvious choice was to go for the elk that we saw first because 3 guys were coming up behind us. The Elk were still in the timber they went to which was just above our camp. We tied the horses off the trail, in the timber at the top of the ridge we were going to sit on top of and wait for the elk to come out. We were sitting on the rim rock above the timber when all of the sudden, the cows started coming out of the timber just below us to the cow call I was using. Then the bull appeared. I was motioning for Sherry to come around on the rock in front of me. Well she took the shot and took the 6x7 in the pictures on her page. Not a bad first Elk! My first Elk was way smaller. Well, I sent her and the dog down to the Elk so she could make sure he was not suffering and keep the bears off him. I climbed the ridge, got the horses and proceeded down the hill. Once I got to them, we took pictures and I field dress him. He died on a bench, 3rd one up,  that was pretty high above the creek bottom. There was a fair amount of snow so after gutting him, I started sliding him down the hill so it would be easier to get the horses to him to pack him out. Well, it worked pretty good and he slid all the way to bottom of the small draw we were in. Part of it without any help from me. He landed behind the only boulder, that was in the small drainage, that he could possibly land behind. I was able to get him around it and down the drainage a little further were he stayed until morning.
The next day we went and finished cleaning the elk and started loading horses for the ride home when we discovered the mule a friend let us use had gone lame in his left front foot. The mule ended up staying on the mountain at the next camp up for the next 2 days and rest. Well, when I went back in to load out camp, the damn mule was still lame. I brought up some pain medication the vet gave me but it didn't help. I spent the night and loaded up camp the next day and walked out so the mule could keep up. She had to be tied between 2 other horses and drug out because of the pain. She was having a really hard time and I felt bad for her, but there was nothing I could do but keep pushing her so she wouldn't have to spend all winter on the mountain. Normally a 3 hour trip on horse back, the trip took me 6 1/2 hours on foot. I passed some guys that I'd seen the day before and they said, they didn't know if I was crazy or just tough. All the while, I was thinking to myself, a little of both.
Well, that's how my hunting trip went this year. I had a wonderful time and saw stuff other people only read stories like this one about. Would be nice and safer to have a steady hunting partner, but I'm not going to stop going by myself just because I don't have one. At least not as long as I can walk!

 "One thing is for sure, like electricity, never ever take the mountains for granted or they can and sometimes will take you forever! Quite frankly, there would be no better place to end up than the mountains.
Now please take a moment and say a prayer for god to give me a new pair of knees!!!!! hahahaha"
2003 Quote, but I still like it! The knees are worse now than then so keep praying!!!!!!!

Hope you enjoyed the story and the pictures!

Bobby Joe Long

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